Staged at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, the Citi Open in Washington began back in 1969 on Arthur Ashe's initiative, joining the Open era a year later and staying in the calendar ever since. It has always gathered a strong field of players and gained the status of one of the most important events in the United States.
Until 1986, the surface was green Har-Tru clay before the tournament switched to hard courts to follow the other big events during North American swing. Ken Rosewall, Tony Roche, Arthur Ashe, Guillermo Vilas, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Stefan Edberg, Michael Chang, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Martin del Potro, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori have all won title here in the past, with Agassi standing as the most prominent star with five crowns in the capital between 1990-1999.
Alexander Zverev won the title in 2017 and 2018 and he will not defend the title, leaving Stefanos Tsitsipas as the top seed. Kevin Anderson, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Daniil Medvedev and Marin Cilic should lead the draw, unlike Gale Monfils and Denis Shapovalov who have both decided to skip Washington and take more rest before Montreal.
Monfils was the semi-finalist in Washington back in 2007, losing to John Isner in three tie breaks and reaching the final four years later, beaten by Radek Stepanek in straight sets. Five years later, the Frenchman prevailed Ivo Karlovic in a thrilling final to lift the crown, bowing out in the first round in 2017 to Yuki Bhambri.
Gael had played on a very high level in February and March but had to slow down after Indian Wells due to injuries, as many times before. After losing the last three matches since Roland Garros, Gael took some time off after Wimbledon and enjoyed with his girlfriend Elina Svitolina in Ukraine, obviously not feeling ready to compete next week.
World no. 29 Denis Shapovalov was the semi-finalist in Miami although that was the last time we have seen him playing on the desired level, dropping ten of the last 12 encounters on the Tour and opting to take more time off the court before returning at home Masters 1000 event.
The young Canadian made a debut in Washington in 2016 and his only win came a year ago when he toppled Daniil Medvedev before losing to Kei Nishikori in straight sets.